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AMERICAN ART JOURNAL. 



299 



ART GOSSIP. 

An artist friend writing from Brunnen on 
Lnke Lucerne, under date of August 4tli., says : 
•' Tlie scenery is superb and the sketching tip- 
top. I know you would be charmed with it, and 
I can imagine the enthusiasm with which you 
would gaze on tliese splendid snow-capped 
mountains, tliis superb lake and these beautiful 
valleys — and certainly the valleys of Switzerland 
are enchantingly lovely. Imagine an undulating 
plain extending several miles, and every inch of 
it cultivated to the highest extent ; all kinds of 
grain and vegetables growing with the greatest- 
luxuriance and abundance ; through it roils, and 
roars, and dashes.a little mountain stream, clear 
as glass, and cold" as ice itself ; until it is lost in 
the blue waters of Lake Lucerne\ just discernible 
in the distance. A few miles off you see a beau- 
tiful little village, with quaint old houses, the 
roofs covered with tiles, or with old shingles and 
boards, on which immense rociss and stones arc 
piled to keep them in their places during the 
tremenduous winter gales. Stacks of grain or 
hay are occasionally to be seen, and in the centre 
of the village rises a tall and slender church 
spire. Beyond the town are beautifnlly wooded 
hills, broken up by farms and orchards, and be- 
iiind them rise inmiense mountains, up, up, up, 
until their summits are lost in the clouds. Pic- 
turesque chalets, or farm-houses are built far up 
the mountain, almost to the very top, sometimes 
on the brink of frightful precipices, and in places 
almost inaccessible, strange and terrible looking 
footpaths wind up the mountain side, and occa- 
sionally a goat will spring along from crag to 
crag, as if uncopscious of- the danger of his way. 
Above all, is the bluest of blue nkies and a few 
light fleecy clouds are just hovering around the 
tops of some still more distant mountains, whose 
snow-capped summits are just discernible in the 
distance. This is not a fancy sketch, but a real 
picture such as you can see in almost any of the' 
Swiss Valleys." 

Tlie writer visited the Academy ex'iibition 
while in Paris and writes : "It was a very in- 
teresting exhibition, numbering about four 
thovisand works— many of them very fine, par- 
ticularly a -superb landscape by Oswald Achen- 
bach, and a magnificent picture "containing 
nearly forty life size figures by Dubufe— subject, 
the Prodigal Son. Saimin (an artist who lived 
sometime in New York) had a very fine picture 
of an Italian girl ; Bougereau, two snperb works. 
I was very much disappointed in the French 
landscapes ; most of them were v?ry poor, in 
deed, not by any means equal to the works of 
our own artists. The figure pieces were better, 
some of them superb ; but even here there was 
considerable that one could not greatly admire. 
There were many picturesof nude figures — some 
very fine, but mostof them bad and disgusting." 
Speaking of Brussels, he says : " It is a very 
pleasant city, has a splendid park, some fine 
statues and a large picture gallery containing 
many fine works by Kubens, Van Dyke, Jordaens, 
Van Ostade, Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Titian, 
Claude Loraine, and many others. The church 
of St. Qndule has a very remarkable carved oak 
pnlpit representing the expulsion from Paradise 
admirably executed by Verbruggen ot Antwerp. 
The stained glass windows in this church are 
the finest I have ever seen. While at Brussels 
we rode over to the battle-field of Waterloo, 
distant about twelve miles from Soignee, in 
which are some of the most gigantic beech trees 
I have ever seen." 

Having visited the Cathedral at Antwerp, he 
writes : " In this church are Rubens' master- 
pieces. The descent from the Cross; and the 
Elevation to the Cross ; both of them wonderful 
pictures, and well worth a journey- across the 
Atlantic to see. I have formed tlie very highest 
opinion of Rubens. Pictures such as his have 
never been seen in America. In the Museum at 
Antwerp are several of his best works. His 



' Holy Family ' I consider to be one of the most re- 
markable pictures 1 have ever seeiv I sat before 
it for a long time and left it with regret. Such 
wonderful color, such perfect drawing and such 
mastf rly handling as are shown in the figure of 
the Infant Jvsus in this picture, I have never 
seen equalled. Rubens was, undoubtedly, a 
perfect master of his art : and his pictures please 
me more than any others I have seen in Europe. 
The Museum has a splendid collection of pictures 
in addition to tliose of Rubens. One of the best 
being the ' Crucifixion ' by Van Dyke, a splendid 
and wonderfully low-toned picture, and there 
are many others of great excellence." 

Having stopped at Cologne, he says : " But 
there is not much there except the churches and 
the botanic garden. <The Cathedral will be su- 
perb if it is ever finished which .I.think rather 
doubtful ; as it has now been in course of erec- 
tion over six hundred years, and the spires have 
not yet risen al)ove the roof. 

"All the Catholic churches in Europe have their 
sacred relics, as a matter of course : and the 
number of pieces of the real cross one meets is 
astonishing to behold. If they could all be col- 
lected together I think there are enough pieces 
to freight a ship with and enough left over to 
build a cross of the same dimensions of the orig- 
inal. ' 

" From Cologne we had a superb sail up the 
Rhine to Miiyencc; stopping on the way for sev- 
eral days at Coblentz, a very pretty place, imme- 
diately opposite the immense fortress of Eliren- 
bruchstein, and commanding fine views of the 
river. I was delighted with the scenery of the 
Rhine ; it is beautiful, picturesque and lovely in 
the extreme, and I think fully deserves all the 
praises that have been lavislied upon it." 



IFvom the N. 0. Ptooyune.) 
MODERN LITERATI OP FRANCE. 



Paris, July, 1S66. 
We have lost a man who wll Ions ^ missed.— 
Mery, Mery is dead. He was bora at Ayglades, 
some ti lie ia 1798, and his christian name (which 
he seems never to have signed . was Joseph. That 
is all we know o: his family history. Although 
most Ht-rary men may repeat, " Story 1 Lord 
bless ,ou there's none to tell, sirl" we naturally 
yejrnto know something of talents' earlier years. 
Wtrethevhapry? Wera they precocious? Did 
mother ;Mrect the youthful mind to literalire? 
Was school litiB easv, or did the tut re literary 
man prove a reluctant plodder and was he called 
"idler" by the master when he was in the poet's 
" fine phrenzy," roaming irom earth to heaven, as 
ima"-mation bodied forth its mysteries t All we 
know of Joseph Mery is the year of hia birth and 
his descent fi'om a respectable araily, wh.,se name 
is still hon rably borne by his br tlier, and the 
latter's children, and his thorough educati n in 
the classics ^the only true mental training; the 
modern methods are but acts of cramming) this 
meagre information his intimate iriends seem un- 
ablelo increase. They really know as lUtleabout 
him as anybody else, tor while his most mtimate 
friend makes him a native of Marseilles, there 
seems to be no reason to doubt that he was born 
at Ayglades. French biography is notoriously 
obscure and inaccurate, even in the orthography 
of French proper names. The windows which 
display photographs to our cotemporariessho^yin 
a striking manner, French carelessness in wri.mg 
proper names. I have seen M. Auher's name 
written Haubert, Aubert and Ober; Dr. Riardi 
written Rico and Ricort. Mery first ventured up- 
on letter press in his 22nd year. His maiden et- 
fbrt was a satire directed to Abb4 Elizagaray. It 
seems to htive been sharp, for the AbbcS brought 
suit against the poet, and succeeded in having the 
latter sentenced to fliteen months imprisonment. 
When ho quitted jaQ alter this long term of con- 
finement he joined the opposition party and began 
a war on the Bourbon Government, which ended 
only with the flight of the family from France. At 
this period of lime Alphonse Rabbe was editor of 



a newspaper, LePhocfeen, which was most vio ent 
in its opposition to the Government. Mery be- 
came a contributor to it. Rabbe was a man ot 
great talents, and Miguel, Thiers, Victor Hugo 
and Alex. Dumas predicted a splendid career to 
him, and treated him as their peer. He was dis- 
solute. His handsome face, wmning manner, and 
fascinating conversation made him welcomed by 
every woman. He went to Spain. The beauties 
of Seville Intoxicated him. He became diseased. 
The malady made most rapid progress. He lost 
his nose before he could return to Prance. His 
whole body became one mass of corruption. 
Death slowly came to his deliverance. His hopes 
of fame all lied with his nose. But let mo not an- 
ticipate. After writing some time in Le Phoofeen, 
Mery determined to establish a newspaper of his 
own. He Ibunded La Mediterranfee, which may 
be said to exist still, for in the couree of time it 
and Le Phocfeen were merged into one paper, 
which was called Le Semaphore, and which is at 
this day the most flourishing newspaper out of 
Paris. Mery did not retain long his connection 
with the Marseilles press. In his twenty-sixth 
year he came up to Paris at Rabbe's invitation. 
Rabbe had then begun the series ot historical epi- 
tomes, which had a great deal of success and 
which led both Monsieur Thiers and Monsieur 
Mignet to those historloal labore which have given 
them so much reputation. Rabbe lodged liini in 
his house and made him his private secretary. 
Mery collected materials for Rabbe's epitome of 
the history of the Popes. It was a year after Mery 
had come up to Paris he made the acquaintance 
of a young man from the South of France, not tVom 
Marseilles but from Aveyron county, but as both 
were from the South they were attracted together. 
Mery's new friend was then chiei editor of LeNaln 
Jaune, a brilliant and popular satirical paper. His 
name was Pierre Soul<i. He enlisted Mery as a 
contributor to Le Nain Jaune, and Mery continued 
to write in It long after the chief editor qui.tgd 
France to escape line and Imprisonment for some 
daring witticism and to pursue a path in the West 
which was to lead him to the fl'ont rank of the 
New Orleans bar, to a seat, as a representative of 
Louisiana, in the Federal Senate, to the United 
States Embassy at Madrid. When the Hon. Pierre 
Sju16 received the appohitment of United States 
Minister to Spain, you published m the Picayune 
a letter from Mery giving an interestin"; account 
of his relations with your distiuguished lellow-cit- 
izen. Fame, or rather that earnest money of 
Fame, popularity, did not reward Mery's labors 
until he published a book. Sir James M.icintosh's 
biographers long ago observed, reputation never 
fell to thd newspaper writer, and they instanced 
their lather fbr an example to support their re- 
mark. As soon as Mery published his flr^t satire, 
it bore the barbarous title of Les Sidiennes, his 
n.ame became known. It met w th a great; sale. 
He now began to write with Mens. Barthelemy, 
(Ills partner in Les Sldionues) a series of satires, 
which hail a wonderful run of success. They 
were paid SI ,000 for their second satire. La Vi le- 
liade. 1 bel eve tiiey received $5,^00 for the Ui-st. 
They certainly received this sum of money for one 
ol the satires. The second satire was fol lowed '»y 
La Corbiereide, Rome et Paris and La Censure. 
The advent of the Martignac Ministry suspended 
these satirical publications, and had Charles X 
been wise and sustained the Cabinet, the revolu- 
tion of 1S30 would have been averted. France 
did fairly come around to the Bourbon dynasty 
while Mens, tie Martignac was in his power, and 
would have remained faithful to it could thatfUiu- 
ily_which never learned and never forgot any- 
thing—have learned the powers of a Liberal Gov- 
ernment and forgotten the France ol Louis XIV s 
day. During this general armistice Mery wrote 
his poem, " Napoieon en Egypt." When the 
Marti"'nac cabinet fell the Liberal party renewed 
ibe war on the Bourbons; Mery and Barthelemy 
contributed " La Peyronneide " and " La Guerre 
d'Alger," as their share of the war. The Bour- 
bons being overthrown wrote a poem, " L' Insur- 
rection," and a national hymn, "La Tricolore," 
whose music was written by Malevy. You know 



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300 



AMERICAN ART JOURNAL 



the monarchy of July soon gave dissatisfaction to 
ti\e more advanced members of.tlie Liberal party. 
Mcry and Bartlielemy strung their lyre again and 
their most famous sitirical poem, wliich attached 
everybody with indiscriminate virulence, was pub- 
lished, it was called " JJemesis." • They intend- 
ed to continue its publication in a series of num- 
bers, but the government informed them they 
could not do so unless tliey deposited $20,000 at 
the Treasury as guarantee money. This they 
were unable to do and so there was an end of 
"Nemesis." And an end too to the literary co- 
partnership which had existed between him and 
M. Burlhelemy, but what reason led to this rup> 
ture has been and is still an unrevealed mystery. 
The rapture, whatever its causes may have been, 
was lln'al, and although M. Bai'thelemy attended 
Mery's lunerai, it is believed then- relations were 
entirely suspended after this dissolution of co- 
parlnersbip. The poem Napoleon en £:rypt and 
his association with M. Bartuelemy vwhoTiad been 
from the lirst, as he is now, an ardent Bonapart- 
ist) led to an invitation from Queen Hortense to 
visit tiie Bouap.irces at Home. He now accepted 
the invitation and was presented to the modern 
Niobe, LiBtitia Bonaparte, and to all the mem- 
bers of the femily. He remained in Italy some 
years, and upon his return to France he seems to 
have thrown iiside politics entirely, and to have 
cooled towards poetry. Edf ncelorth, it is as a prose 
writer we shall see him except when he makes ex- 
cursions into the regions of opera, opera comique 
and plays. His first novel was Le Bonnet Vert, 
which appeared in 1837; this was fast followed 
by successive stories, which were popular in their 
day, but are already lorgotten. Mery was not a 
writer for immortality. It may be questioned il 
ho put the besD part of himselt into his books. 
There are authors whose breasts like those of 
some volcano pour out all themselves when they 
enter into eruption. There are others whose 
br, usts are like tlie Hint which requires col ision 
to draw glittering spark alter glittering spark. 
Mery was one of these last. ^.liUj his works 
were written under the most disadvantageous cu-- 
cumstances. Mery was an inveterate gambler. 
He spent all night long at the gaming-tahle, ex- 
cept during summer, when he would quit Paris tor 
the Germaa hells which you know are open only 
iVom 11 A. M., until 11 o'clock P. M. All his 
luouey went here, and when he reached the end of 
his purse, he would go to his publisher and pro- 
cure an advance. Besides, it may be questioned 
whether constant commerce with society is favor- 
able to intellectual exertion. The "diner-out' 
fritters away in copper, or" at most, silver small 
change, the ideas which he ought to transform in- 
to gold. Society makes one ready, but it is at 
loss ot depth, and the tone of society dampens, if 
it does not extinguish enthusiasm, for society is 
nothing if not critical, and its aims, hopes, senti- 
ments, are so grovelling as to depress the author. 
I insist upon the bold eilorts of Mery in prose and 
poetry, and his wonderful talents in conversation, 
because here is the explanation of the reputation 
enjoyed by Mery hero, and the little reputation he 
enjoys abroad. 1 quote an anecdote to exhibit 
this inanother light: . 

I remember when the manager ot La Mode ask- 
ed Mery to write a novel for his periodical. Mery, 
with magniliceut sang froid, offered him a choice 
between any one of the 261 subjects which he had 
already in his brain. Mery, between soup and 
coUoe, told us in exienso some ol these innumera- 
ble subjects. He sketched the character and sit- 
uations, acted the scenes, spo;<e the dialogues. It 
was chirming as he spoke. The manager of La 
Mode, selected La Circv; do Paris, which appear- 
ed under this same title hve or six weeks alter- 
warus. To be sure, it was neither a vulgar nor a 
dull Work, but the charm had disappeared, the 
magical etlect had tbrgotten to go from conversa- 
tion to: the work; this rocket fallen to earth was 
nothing more than a bit ot paper rolled around a 
pea ; the extraordinary superiority ol the talker 
tell in the nqve.ist to a mediocrity to which his co- 
laborers might aspire. without too much vanity. 
Mei-y's plays, like his novels, disappointed expect- 



ation. After hearing Mery talk, managers would 
be fascinated, and they would feel sure a man of 
such talents must succeed ; but when the play was 
brought out the charm had disappeared, the mag- 
ical effect had tbrgotten to go from conversation 
to the work. He wrote " books " for operas, and 
operas comiques and plays lor almost every thea- 
tre in Paris. In all his litb he never had anything 
like a successful play. The number of odes he 
wrote exceeds account; he was a sort of poet lau- 
reate to the theatres and the court. If a victory 
was won or a festival recurred, or some auspicious 
event, cheered the court, Mery was called upon to 
sing paeans in verse. He owed these calls to his 
prodigious facility. When other men would have 
asked days or weeks he asked minutes, and would 
write the ode on the back of a play-bill, or on vis- 
iting cards when no other paper was to be had. 
His impromptus were some of his best works. 
There is one of them written on seeing a young 
lady with a breastpin, on which a dog was repre- 
sented: 

Ayez un chien, un chien couoliant 
Un chien de Kardc, un chien do poche, 

Mais parder-vous, la belle enfiint. 
Do jamais le mettre A la brochc ! 
Few French authors received more money for 
their works than Mery got for his. The reason, 
probably, was the publicity and praises given to 
everything he did. His social relations disarmed 
criticism, and made critics praise his works. Be- 
sides Mery wrote in a great many newspapers, 
and this aided him wonderfully. He was always 
penniless, nevertheless, for the reasons I have 
mentioned, and because he could never refuse 
money to a friend or to distress. Had the Em- 
peror not given orders he should want nothing 
during his long last illness he must have been car- 
ried to the hospital. His Majesty supplied all his 
wants, and when the last struggle was ended the 
E-upcror paid his funeral expenses and gave him 
a grave. Mery's death had been looked ibr daily 
ever since list January. How he survived so long 
is a wonder to the faculty, for he was alBicted with 
two most e.Khausting diseases. He had consump- 
tion and cancer. He did, however, cling to life 
by sheer force of will. Everybody of note in Paris 
attended his funeral, although the rain came down 
in torrentS; He was never married. Mersrs. 
Salute Beuve, Victor Hugo, Alex. Dumas and de 
Laiuartine are now the sole survivors of that bril- 
liant galaxy of men 3f talents who cast such lus- 
tre o;i French literature from 1825 to the present 
day. They ai-e all old menl Where are their 
successors ? 



IMUSICAL AND DRAMATIC GOSSIP. 



Tlio celebrated songstress, Carlotta Zucclii, lias 
gone to Europe, if not with tlie golden opinions 
of all sons of people, certainly witli forty thou- 
sand gold dollars, which Max M«re;zek paid her 
for h«r services during tlie last opera season. 
And, apropos, here is a little incident concerning 
the exit of the prima douua that may be worth 
relating, it' only to illustrate the growing cuie- 
ness of those unpopular pei-sons, the coUuctors of 
internal revenue. By some hocus pocus, known 
only to themselves, tliey found out that Zucchi's 
name was booked on the passenger list of a 
steamer that was to sail in tweuty-foui' hours 
after the discovery was made. A crisis had ar- 
rived, and there was no time to lose. Uncle 
Sainuel's tax gatherer at once presented himself 
before the cantatrice and in as few words as pos- 
sible gave her to understand that on the $40,000 
in gold, which tlie indomidable Max had paid 
her a day or two previously, eighteen hundred 
dollars and some odd cents was due to tho Gov- 
ernment. The fair Italian demui-red. She was 
not a citizen of this great country; she had 
never taken the oath of allegiance ; she owed 
nothing to revenue collectors or anybody else, 
and to cut the matter short, it was intimated to 
the shOvel-nosed collector that he might as w.ll 
be gone about his business : the swindle would 
not bo submitted to. Tax gatherers, however, 



are proverbially persistent. The fellow in this 
case would not be gone. Zucchi sent for friends 
and took advice, and finally paid tlie money in a 
fine storm of iuelo-dramatic passion, under pro» 
JteBt. 

Lord Dundreary has also been figuring in a 
new character in England. It seems that oho 
Kobertson commenced a divorce suit against his 
wife, whom be charges witli undue familiarity 
with my Lord Dundreary. When the case came 
up for trial in the divorce court, Mr. Sothern, 
through his own counsel indignantly denied the 
whole charge, denounced it as a conspiracy, and 
made application to have the case struck off t&e 
files of the court, whicli was promptly done. . 

A short time ago, Mr< Howard Paul was giving 
entertainments at a rival establishment in Liver- 
rool. The theatre was doing a notoriously bad 
business, but tlw manager, true to his tactics of 
impressing the outside public, continued his 
plan of hanging out placards : "Pit full-," " On- 
ly standing room in the boxes," when it was a 
well known fact that the theatre was almost 
empty. This doubtful policy forming the sub- 
ject of a good deal of local gossip, Mr. Howard 
Paul, by way of a practical joke, had a burlesque 
set of placards in same type and style painted, 
and at 6 o'clock in tlie evening, before the doors 
were open, a huge bill appeared in tlie front of 
the hall, " very empty," a little later the public 
were informed that they were " Two in the pit ;" 
this was removed to make way tor one still 
larger and more imposing, " Sulficien! to form an 
audience." At 9 o'clock another loomed out, 
-" Room to lie full length in any part of the 
house," and when the entertainment was over, 
and the audience departed, a last and largest 
bill was dispkyed, " JN^ot a soul in yet for to-mor- 
row night's performance." Tins travestie of les 
rt^'cte caused immense amusement in the town, 
and the placard loving manager, has since been 
less prolific in his imaginative announcements, 

A new word has been invented in honor of 
Theresa, the French ballad singer — "T heresine ;" 
anything common or vulgar in music. 

Mr. Watts Phillips' new romantic drama, 
" the Huguenot Captain." was successfuily pro- 
duced at the Princess' Theatre, London, on the 
second. 

The story of the Huguenot Captain is laid in 
the limes Immediately following he massacre of 
St. Bartholomew while yet the religious feud 
was raging between the Guise party and that of 
tlie King of Navarro. 

Mr. Trentonove, sculptor, has sued Mr. Dion 
Boucicault, to recover payment for the part-exe- 
cution of two busts— one of Mr. Boucicault, the 
other of Mrs. Boucicault, and of a statuette of 
that lady as the Colleen Bawn. 

Signor David Costa, of the Grand Opera, Paris, 
will visit this coiuvtry in the fall, accompanied 
i)y Ills celebrated ballet corps. This corps in* 
eludes Mile. Mario Bonfanti, said to be one of the 
most captivating divinities that ever tripjied the 
liglit fantastic toe. They will probably go 
immediately to New Orleans. 

The Washington and Chicago Opera Houses 
are both to let. Neither'of themVeem to flour- 
ish, for the reason probably of the little genuine 
taste for music in either city. 

Jenny Lind, so far from retiring from the 
world, is giving conc-rts in England. 

At a representation of '• Arrah-na-Poguc," in 
Paris, the Emperor is said, to have laughed 
heartily at the comic sccuies, while the Empress 
wept abundantly at the serious parts ' 

'• Slap bang," " Ka-loo-solum," " Jolly Dogs," 
etc., are Siiid to bo tlie popular London songs at 
present. 

Italian Opeba at New Orleans.— We 
learn from M. A. Guerin, comptroller of the Op- 
era House, that he has received intelligencti from 
-M. Marcellin Alhaiza, the eflicient manager, 
now in Paris, that be has been successful in en- 
gaging three other artists of the highest talent